The Dialogue with Ben & Angela Crawley

This feature is a question-and-answer session with a new Blount County Chamber member. So here we go with our 56th installment visiting with Ben & Angela Crawley, owners of FirstLight HomeCare of Maryville which provides in-home non-medical companion care and personal care. We provide exceptionally trained caregivers wherever the client may be, be that at home, in a skilled nursing facility, a retirement community, transitional care unit, or even at the hospital.
 
What are your talents that make this work? Angela's natural talent for caring and extensive experience as a hospice RN made starting a FirstLight HomeCare franchise in the Maryville/greater Knoxville area an easy choice. My experience in business management and desire to really be a part of the community I grew up in after having not lived here for 15 years has given me the desire to give this a solid go.
 
How did you get started? FirstLight HomeCare is a franchise based out of Cincinnati, OH. The franchise has been in existence for seven years and has more than 120 units operating, providing exceptional care, across the country. Ben chose this franchise to build his business because of the over-and-above attention to the caregiver, corporate support and culture.
 
What is your background? I have been in business management for the last 11 years, mostly in a technical industrial and engineering setting, in both large and small companies. That experience coupled with an Undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering from Tennessee Tech, and a Masters in Business Administration from UT Chattanooga, the skills required to succeed are there. It's the enthusiasm and excitement for another adventure, an adventure I can share with my wife that make the decision to dive in, no matter how scary that can be at first, something I just had to do.
 
Who is your mentor? I think about all the senior managers and HR managers who cared to look out for me when I just got started in my career in a really large company. They come to mind first. Second I think about my family. But most of all these days I think about my wife now. She is the balance to me and without her there would be no way to explore this venture. Her personality for caring, her natural talent and desire to care and her sheer experience doing so make this possible and guide me.
 
Describe your customers. Our customers are naturally our elders in the community. Being able to respectfully provide them dignity on a daily basis is truly at the core of what we aim to provide. But FirstLight HomeCare is designed to provide services to anyone 18 years or older. Whether it be due to disability or even dementia care, we provide our caregivers to develop skills that take their capabilities to more than just our communities aging population.
 
What impacts your business most? In this country, every day - every day, 8-10,000 people turn 65. There is a huge demographic shift that is going on in this country which is leading to a much higher percent of the population reaching their golden years. This represents a fairly strong opportunity for FirstLight HomeCare. And even though we do have good quality competitors out there right here in our community, the need is still there. We like to work together with our "competitors" to make sure a need in the community is filled. Political concerns are always there as right now the regulatory climate for Home Care companies is fairly light, and we can survive with a private pay model. If regulations step in to change that and place limits our economic environment, things will change.
 
What do you enjoy most about your business? Independence. I am my own boss. This is mine to succeed or fail. I also like that it is a fully modeled and built-out franchise. I feel like I do have a helping hand there that I can lean on if need be at times.